Angels from Hazard
'This record contains several songs that are destined to become classics, if anyone listens at all. Greg Poulos is not just a gifted guitar player, but one of the great blues and R&B band leaders, as evidenced by this scary good collection of great songs, arrangements, and performances.'--Sam Broussard--THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS Let's face it, 42 years is a long time to wait for anything. After spending most of his career playing guitar as a sideman, Greg Poulos finally has a CD he can call his own, entitled ANGELS FROM HAZARD. A true labor of love, this eclectic CD contains 7 originals and 5 covers, spanning multiple flavors of blues, rock, and R&b, and features his trademark rich guitar tone and soulful delivery . Poulos enlisted an allstar cast of guest musicians including Gregg Allman bandleader and keyboardist NEIL LARSEN, former Allman Brother DANGEROUS DAN TOLER, DAMON FOWLER, and the outstanding rhythm section of DAVE REINHARDT and ROB McDOWELL. Poulos is known to many for the last 7+ years as the guitar player for the Sarasota, Florida band THE VENTURAS: a band so versatile that they are booked at blues festivals, jazz festivals, rock clubs, and swing dances. Greg has had a long and eventful history with numerous bands. In his early teens he was already doing paid gigs in bands like THE BITS OF DIFFERENCE and THE CRYSTAL PAIN. Greg went on to play over the years with many area Blues greats, like ROCK BOTTOM, PAT RAMSEY, CHRIS ANDERSON, and SARASOTA SLIM, to name a few. Of greatest interest to blues fans is probably the year he spent playing and touring with the legendary FREDDIE KING. In the early winter of 1976, Greg was broke, hardly working, and living in an unheated garage in Boulder, Colorado. Greg caught word that Freddie was in town, and was holding auditions for a new rhythm guitarist. Greg invited a bunch of his buddies to watch him audition at a club called The Good Earth. Freddie took one look at Greg's near-homeless hippie attire-ratty jeans, hiking boots, and a huge down jacket, and shook his head. That would never do. Freddie wasn't even going to give Greg a chance until he learned that he (Greg) had recently sat in with SAMMY LAWHORN of Muddy Waters fame at some Southside Chicago clubs. Greg finally got to take the stage and played like his life depended on it, with his friends whooping and hollering in the audience. Afterwards, Freddie invited Greg to a poker game. (a very good sign!) Needless to say, Greg got the gig, and a few days later he was onstage at the Starwood in Los Angeles, playing alongside Freddie and some very special guests: ERIC CLAPTON, NOEL REDDING, and BUDDY MILES. Life on the road was not easy. Greg was paid $35 per gig, and had to pay his own motel and food expenses. Freddie was a tough and temperamental guy, and these tendencies were exacerbated by the typical excesses of the musician's lifestyle. But during this time, Greg got to meet and often play with legends like MUDDY WATERS, B.B. KING, BUDDY GUY, JUNIOR WELLS, WILLIE DIXON, JEFF BECK, RON WOOD, and CARLOS SANTANA. He even got to play a private birthday party for PAUL McCARTNEY. In late December of 1976, Freddie's band was due to play a gig in Tampa. After it fell through, Greg convinced Freddie to spend a few days off in Greg's hometown of Sarasota. Freddie and the band were invited to the home of Greg's parents. A couple of the black members of the band were taken aback by this invitation. They had never been invited into the home of a white person before. Greg's parents rolled out the red carpet, and Freddie rewarded them with a rare acoustic concert in the living room after dinner. Later that night, many years before the advent of cellphones, word had spread like wildfire that Freddie was in town, and hundreds of rabid music fans flocked to "Mildew Manor", the home of John Lambie and a popular Allman Brothers hangout back in the day. Freddie was in a great mood, and played all night with Greg and the band, accompanied by Neil Larsen on piano. It was a night Greg will never forget. The following day, when Greg showed up at Freddie's motel to board the bus to ride to the next gig (a Christmas Eve show in Dallas), the normally gruff ( and always frugal) Freddie did something that blew Greg away. He put his arm around Greg, told him that even though he'd had his initial doubts about the hippie kid when he'd first laid eyes on him back in Boulder, that Greg had really turned out to do a great job in the band. He thanked Greg for the dinner at his parents, gave him a couple hundred bucks, and asked him if he'd like to spend Christmas Day with his folks. Greg would miss only one show-the Christmas Eve show in Dallas-and then fly back to rejoin the band on New Years Eve. A stunned Greg gratefully accepted the offer. Little did he know that Freddie would pass away a few days later. There are those who might choose to believe (count this writer in) that some small part of Freddie knew that these would be his last few days on earth, and that he was feeling fondness and gratitude for the people around him. Blues trivia fans might know that the guitarist who subbed for Greg on Christmas Eve was a young Joe Kubek. After Freddie died, Greg headed back to Boulder. He hadn't made a lot of money, but he'd soaked up a whole lot of Blues mojo. Over the years, Greg has become adept at playing many different kinds of music. He will tell you that this is both because of his desire to keep growing as a musician, and also for economic survival. Versatility translates to more gigs. A couple of his favorite contemporary musicians are Robben Ford and Johnny A, who find a way to effortlessly blend Blues, Rock, and Jazz. On Greg's new CD, ANGELS FROM HAZARD, you will hear him cover a lot of ground. But as many musicians will tell you, no matter what style of music Greg is playing, you will always hear the blues. ROCK BOTTOM used to say "If you don't live it, you can't give it." When Greg plays, you will hear that lifetime of experience in every note.